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Land of the Blind (Caroline Mabry, #2)
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Land of the Blind (Caroline Mabry #2)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  621 ratings  ·  85 reviews
In this fiendishly clever and darkly funny novel, Jess Walter speaks deeply to the bonds and compromises we make as children -- and the fatal errors we can make at any moment in our lives.

While working the weekend night shift, Caroline Mabry, a weary Spokane police detective, encounters a seemingly unstable but charming derelict. "I'd like to confess," he proclaims. But he
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Harpperen (first published 2003)
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It’s a goal of mine to scare up votes for Jess Walter’s induction into the Pantheon of Great American Storytellers. Land of the Blind justifies his nomination. [Citizen Vince (see review) does even more so.] He’s never slow, he adds insights without overdoing it, his dialogue is bang on, and his plots keep Kindle screens refreshing incessantly. I like his style, too – kind of edgy, but with a genuine regard for his characters. If you were to shoehorn this one into a category, I guess it would be ...more
Land of the Blind was not a fun read. Clark, the main character reveals in tortuous detail his adolescence . Walter's characters always seem to come from the seamy side of Spokane. He writes with so much pathos and detail, it can't all be imagined pain.
Clark begins this novel confessing to crimes, real and unnamed. He suffers as he unloads the pain of success , failure, loyalty, treason, love and detachment. His patch does not blind him. It only gives a lack of depth perception.
As I said, this w
Eric Hammel
I write books for a living. I edit books. I publish books. I =live= books. But I rarely find myself impressed by books.

I'm impressed enough with Jess Walter to read his books. Now I find myself impressed enough with Land of the Blind to get off my jaded butt to recommend it to anyone who was ever teased in school, or bullied, or humiliated, or moved by the fear of any of the above to act against his better nature.

This is a book written in pain; it is painful to read, painful to relive personal m
aPriL eVoLvEs
The book is tough going in the first half because the subject is bullying and it is harsh to read.

Eli is an extremely bullied kid because he has everything wrong with him that can be wrong with someone and yet be fit enough for public school mainstreaming while still needing two special-ed classes as well - he smells, he wears ugly glasses, he's both physically and mentally handicapped, and he lives in a spiritless deadened large town. Clark, one of the narrators, is also bullied, but not as ba
Rick MacDonnell
Jan 01, 2015 Rick MacDonnell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of A Prayer For Owen Meany
In Land of the Blind, Jess Walter has written a dolorous thriller about a man who wants police detective Caroline Mabry to witness his confession to a crime that has yet to be reported. With legal paper in hand, Clark Mason proceeds to write a long story of a childhood friendship gone horribly wrong—a "story of weakness, not of strength"—one in which he alternately befriends and betrays oddball Eli Boyle.

Years later, Eli agrees to let Clark turn his recreational, hobby-like fantasy game, Empire
Most sequels are similar in style to their predecessor, but Land of the Blind is stylistically very different from Over Tumbled Graves. I don't know if Walter's book deal at that point was dependent on this second novel being a sequel, but it seems to me that's not what he wanted to write and the novel suffers a bit from stretching to be a detective mystery involving Caroline Mabry.

I really liked Caroline in OTG, where she was a central figure. Here she's just hanging on to the periphery of the
Scotty Cameron
Jess Walter does it again. I know this was written well before The Financial Lives of the Poets, but I read them out of order. But this, like Financial Lives, is a book that I must recommend.

This book tells the life story of Clark Anthony Mason, an aspiring politician, hack-job lawyer, people pleaser, and identity-challenged individual. Clark goes to the police, namely Caroline Mabry, wanting to confess. He doesn't know how to go about it. Finally, he decides on confessing to murder through a lo
Patrick McCoy
Land Of The Blind has some interesting aspects to it, but it is not as satisfying as Jess Walter's debut, Over Tumbled Graves or his subsequent novel, Citizen Vince. A lot of the premise was too on the nose-too obviously taken from the headlines: dot com bubble frauds, local political races. Other aspects were too over the top, Clark becoming a millionaire and the utter helplessness and afflictions of Eli. It has the makings of a compelling mystery, but the execution seemed somewhat marred by in ...more
Not my favorite by Mr. Walter, but an excellent read none-the-less. This is a follow-up to his novel Over Tumbled Graves and as different from that one as night is to day. Basically they both share a main character; otherwise the tale and the way it's told are nothing alike.
Spokane is once again a focus. It reminds me sometimes of the area in which I grew up near Beaumont, Texas. Another mid-sized town in a 50 year recession, full of hopeless optimism and a never-ending supply of excuses for fai
In a serendipitous manner, “Land of the Blind” landed in my purview, and I’m glad it did. It is considered a mystery or detective story, but it is actually a first-rate novel. Since I have been exposed to Jess Walter, I plan to read his 2012 novel “Beautiful Ruins,” which Maureen Corrigan (NPR) called a “literary miracle.”

I love women detectives and Caroline Mabry, a single 37-year old, was the perfect choice. She has been demoted to the swig shift in a Spokane police station where drunks and d
I was so impressed by Jess Walter’s first book, Over Tumbled Graves, which I came across a couple weeks ago, but I quickly went to the local library to see if they had any other books by him and they had two. The first one was a major disappointment, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to appreciate its humor, but the other one turned out to be a sequel to Over Tumbled Graves, so I dropped everything else that I was reading to continue the story (which, in truth, had seemed to end in the air at t ...more
What a bag full of authorly surprises Jess Walter has--when I started reading his Spokane-set two-book Caroline Mabry police detective murder mysteries, I did not realize Walter wrote Beautiful Ruins, a book I only partially loved (the Pasquale story and the Italian hotel story!). Beautiful Ruins was inventive with linking this lost, hidden Italian hotel story with Hollywood and scenes and actors who moved in divergent universes over a good deal of time. So the tightly plotted mysteries were a s ...more
I read this for fun in college several years ago (yay opl new books section)and still remember being utterly refreshed by the originality of the work. One of those I just happened to pick up on my own, which reminds me that I should do that more often! Still my favorite of his books, especially the last third of it where it all gets weird and the tension is so intricately built.
Jess Walter is a great storyteller but I really couldn't like any of the characters. Clark, the main character, just wasn't likeable. The book did get more interesting as it progressed and so I finished it to find out what really happened, but I'm left with a blah feeling at the end.
Chrystal Hays
It's not often that I get to read novels in the order they were written, one after the other. In this case, I am so glad I did.

In his first novel, Jess Walter was picking around the edges of the crime genre, pushing the envelope. In this one, he goes further, making a cute little origami figure out of the envelope.

While it brings back characters from the first novel, it stands alone and inhabits its own It's gripping, sad, and funny enough to laugh at if you like the ironic and absur
Òphiere editoriale
Un giallo con la "S" maiuscola.

Le colpe di una vita imperfetta, la vigliaccheria sopratutto e la cecità ai bisogno degli altri: killer anonimi per un mystery che voglia dirsi tale. Eppure Jess Walter riesce ad dar loro corpo con ritmo e una suspence che porta a divorare pagine più velocemente di quanto non accada leggendo molti action thriller. Un romanzo per amanti del "giallo che incatena" ma anche per i lettori che cercano il noir macerato/macerante. E poi che scrittura! Questo Jess Walter è
Nick Kerbs
Jess Walter is quickly becoming my favorite writer writing today...the guy can plot a book like a wizard...hooks you from the very beginning, keeps you turning the pages until you can't wait to get to the end...and then when he gets to the end, everything comes together just right, like all is right with the world and relief covers you like a warm blanket...I can't recommend this guy enough...this is my second Jess Walter book...the first one (Beautiful Ruins) transported me like no other book h ...more
K. Conner
the beautifully constructed story of a man confessing to a wasted life, at times hilarious, at times wrenching.
I don't even know what to make of this book. It was sad and weird, and uncomfortable to read. On the other hand, it was a pretty amazing portrait of how a single man fell apart over a period of years, and (maybe?) his attempt to start putting himself back together. If one chooses to see it as a metaphor, the book is also about the fall (and movement to rise again?) of the "genuine" PNW, the tech boom, and the American economy. Quite a book, but not what I'd call an enjoyable read. It should prob ...more
I normally really like Jess Walter's writing - "Beautiful Ruins" and "We live in Water" are two of my favorites. This one was definitely entertaining and the "confession" portion written in the first person contains a lot of fantastic description. However, the overarching narrative has a sophomoric feel. The character of Caroline seems flat and even, at times, false. While I did enjoy reading the book and finished it within a few days, I wouldn't recommend it with the same gusto that I do his ot ...more
Land of the Blind, by Jess Walter, is a genre-bending literary mystery novel that subverts the trope that mystery novels must always start with the discovery of a body. Instead, the self-proclaimed murderer turns himself in to the police so that he can confess. The story follows Spokane police detective, Caroline Mabry, in her backwards search for the truth and the body to match Clark Mason’s guilt.

Clark begins his unconventional confession, asking Caroline to allow him to write it out in his o
I think I'd read anything Jess Walter wrote. I'm even considering the true crime stuff, and that's not really my scene. This is an early work of Walter's, and though it's not quite up there with the amazing Citizen Vince, it certainly shows the promise that would be fulfilled in subsequent works.

One of the proofs for me that a writer is worth paying attention to is when they can tell you a story that you don't think you'll be interested in and suck you in anyway. I was drawn right in by the dete
Danielle McClellan
I just read this for a book group and was underwhelmed. One of my favorite books this summer was Walter's Beautiful Ruins, but this riff on the police procedural (less "who dunnit" and more "what exactly is it that he dun") did not quite grab me--or rather, it grabbed me but only in that mildly icky way that an intense television cop show grabs you and then leaves you deflated with no sense of a there there. It seemed predictably unpredictable, if that makes sense. I found the long first pages a ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Lara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I bought this at the thrift shop two doors down from our pediatrician' office, because I thought I recognized the author's name. I was happily surprised when I enjoyed the book enough to not want to put it down.

Wasn't wild about the format for most of the writing, but the plot kept me interested.
Steven Drachman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim Stephan
My bookclub just finished Jess Walter's short story collection, We Live in Water. My husband noticed I was reading that book and gave me Land of the Blind for Christmas. And - it was amazing!! Literary fiction, but with an underlying mystery/suspense element that surprised me at the end. I was moved by the beautiful writing and sense of place (Spokane, largely, Jess Walter's town, as well as some Seattle, where I used to live), and then on the edge of my seat.
Not quite as good as Over Tumbled Graves, but a good book nevertheless. I was looking forward to another book about Caroline Mabry, but this one's main character is a self- made man who is recalling his life and relationship with a misfit.
This is hands-down one of the best books I have ever read. Combining hilarious coming-of-age with stressful suspense sounds like a really bad idea... but it works in this story. It's rare to find something so original!
Susan Mccabe
I have enjoyed every one of Jess Walter's books that I've read, though they have all been very different. Although this book can be found in the mystery section, it is more an analysis of human nature and what motivates us to be who we are.
I didn't like this one as much as the first Mabry book, but it has its' own merits. The 2 story-lines run parallel until they collide in the last part of the book, which powers the pace. Set in Spokane, again, it's a novel about growing up in a quickly changing atmosphere - during the time where Seattle was exploding as a tech center and Spokane was left behind as Seattle's conservative much younger sister.
The story concerns Clark, a guy found on the 12th floor of the deserted old Davenport hot
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Jess Walter is the author of five novels and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Details, Playboy, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe among many others.

Walter also writes screenplays and was the co-author of Christopher Darden’s 1996 b
More about Jess Walter...

Other Books in the Series

Caroline Mabry (2 books)
  • Over Tumbled Graves (Caroline Mabry, #1)
Beautiful Ruins The Financial Lives of the Poets We Live in Water Citizen Vince The Zero

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